“French” Dip Sandwiches

After a bit of a hiatus, I am back! The summer months always seem to get away from me. Between vacation time, holidays and weekends with friends and family down the Cape, I find myself cooking less and eating out more. My cooking routine becomes more of a lets-drink-wine-instead routine, but hey, that’s what summer is all about, right?

In the hotter months, I crave simple, crisp salads, or really anything that doesn’t require turning on the oven. We don’t have central air in our apartment, so heating up the oven on a 90 degree Boston day doesn’t seem to be a smart option. However, I still want to make something that is satisfying, which is why these crock pot “French” Dip sandwiches were such a hit. (Okay, disclaimer, I secretly think anything you can put in a crock pot is a hit. You get to pile in the deliciousness, let it marinate and cook over night or during the day, and boom you come home to a savory braised meal with little prep left before you get to enjoy it!). I say “French” dip sandwiches, because typically you’d serve this on French bread, however I opted for a softer, sweeter roll.

French Dip sandys are most intriguing to me because of the dipping sauce. My boyfriend Gavin loves steak and cheeses, which is similar, but lacks dunking ability. I am a huge fan of anything saucy, so this is a perfect sandwich for me. I added a simple green salad for a fresh crunch, and the combo was perfection.

The Break-down:

–          2 pounds beef chuck roast from Chestnut Farm CSA

–          4 cups beef broth

–          ½ cup worcestershire sauce

–          1 yellow onion, chopped

–          2 cups mushrooms (I used a mix of baby bella’s and shiitake)

–          2 tbs. minced garlic

–          1 Bay leaf

–          2 tbs. Olive Oil

–          8 Slices Provolone Cheese

–          8 Rolls (I used Cheryl Anne’s Challah bulkie rolls found here http://cherylannsbakery.com/)

–          S + P to taste

Combine the beef broth and worcestershire sauce to a large bowl, and whisk vigorously to combine.

Heat olive oil in a pan on medium-high heat, add the beef chuck roast, and sear on each side until brown. Remove the meat from the pan and place into the crock pot.  Add the garlic, onions and mushrooms to the heated pan and cook for a few minutes, until fragrant. Make sure you scrape the pan for any brown bits the beef left behind. Remove from heat and add to the crockpot.

Cover the beef, onions and mushrooms with the worcestershire broth, adding in the bay leaf, and S + P to taste.

Set the crock pot on 6-8 hours (low and slow, baby), and proceed about your day.

After the 6-8 hours are up, transfer the meat onto a cutting board, and shred. The meat is so tneder you don’t need a knife, I used two forks to gently pull the meat apart. Transfer the shredded meat back into the crockpot to absorb some more juice.

While the meat gets juice-ified, you can melt the cheese on your rolls. As mentioned, I used Cheryl Ann’s challah rolls, which are not the traditional choice for French dip sandwiches. As mentioned, usually you would use French bread, as it is a little sturdier and stands up to the juice-dunking. However, I found these challah rolls added a surprising sweetness to the sandwich, which I loved. But it’s your choice, french bread is always a go to.

Top the toasted, melty rolls with some pulled meat, mushrooms and onions, and pour yourself a bowl of broth for dipping.

Happy dunking!

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